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Lake Merritt Trials Garden

 Welcome to the Trials Garden!

Trials Garden Talk

Have you ever wished you could plant 8 different tomato varieties to find out which grew best in your yard? Or wanted to plant a perennial that you could feel confident would grow well in your garden? As Master Gardeners, we too want to plant the best vegetables and ornamentals for our climate and maybe also discover fruits/vegetables that will do double duty as ornamentals (blueberries and Oriental spinach work well). From this desire to learn more grew our Trials Garden.

Planted, weeded, and well-loved since 2007, the Trials Garden at the Gardens at Lake Merritt provides the Master Gardeners with a unique space to try different varieties of the same plant to determine which one does best in our Mediterranean fog-influenced climate. We have conducted trials of spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and more.

Spinach Trials Results 2011

Come for a visit

Trials Garden Sign
Come see our trials in action. Master Gardeners staff the Trials Garden every Wednesday, year-round, from 11 am to 1 pm. In addition, we do a summer series of free garden workshops on the 4th Saturday. 

We do our best to answer questions that will help make all of us be better, more productive gardeners. 

The Trials Garden is located in the Gardens at Lake Merritt, which are next to and behind the Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland. Bellevue is one-way off of Grand Ave on the north side of Lake Merritt. After passing Children’s Fairyland on the right and the lawn bowling club on the left, you come to the Garden Center building on your left. The main entrance to the garden area is just past the building, with a second entrance several hundred yards further around. The Trials Garden is in the center of the overall garden area. 

More Outstanding Plants for Alameda County - UCCE
Outstanding Plants for Alameda County

Another aspect of the Trials Garden is to showcase most of the outstanding plants that we recommend for home gardens in our two brochures of landscaping plants.  You also can pick up the brochures in the garden.

Pollinator Habitats 

In addition to the previous features, we have two Trials Garden areas dedicated to educating visitors about how they might attract and support pollinators in their home gardens. We have a demonstration monarch butterfly habitat and a demonstration native bee habitat where you can see and learn about these insect pollinators and the plants that attract them.  You can learn more both about habitats and how you might create them in your own garden in the document links below:

Other Helpful Resources

Here are more resources available to download, or pick up in the garden, to help with garden issues: